Bowling on Crews control

KANELAND—After a 2012-13 campaign that saw a pickup of two late-season wins to improve to 3-6 in dual action, Kaneland girls bowling could be excused if it dwelled in the positive.

But the loss of five seniors from last year’s lineup means no time for basking in anything except lane time, as they get ready for a challenging 2013-14.

The team’s backbone and chance for victory lies mainly with senior Christie Crews and junior Dominique Lee. They’ll be joined by returning senior Michelle Bohanek and juniors Katie Hill, Rena Wojciechowski and Amber Spaetzel.

“Christie has the potential to put up big scores every time out, and we’ll need those scores, that’s for sure,” said three-decade head coach Jim McKnight. “She sometimes gets into split trouble, but she’s also an excellent spare shooter. She’s a very smart bowler, and her confidence is inspiring.”

”Rena showed great promise as a freshman two years ago, but she played basketball last year. She was anxious to return to bowling this year, and so far, she has looked great in practice,” McKnight said.

While McKnight and company have to deal with a slim roster, don’t look to lack in the competitiveness department.

“All the girls are excited and doing well, but we have only eight girls, so that’s a problem. We had several good prospects who decided to play club sports, and a couple others became ineligible. We’re still waiting for some girls to join us, but we’re having the same problems as many other teams. In fact, DeKalb only has seven girls right now, and their student population is larger than ours,” McKnight said. “If we had to compete tomorrow, we’d probably go with Christie, Dominique, Rena, Michelle, Katie and Amber.”

With the landscape of the NIB-12 always heavy, the Lady Knights will aim higher than the 10th-place finish in last year’s conference competition.

“It’s difficult to predict who will be at the top of the conference this year, but I expect Morris, Dixon and Sterling to all be right up there. Sycamore and DeKalb have lost some of last year’s teams, but they’ll probably be right in the thick of it, too. Sadly, this will be the last year for Streator and Dixon in this conference. They have excellent programs and nice people, so they will certainly be missed,” McKnight said.

Kaneland once again will make its home at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb, and begin its quest on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at Sterling.


Recovery mission

Photo: Junior Taylor Eaves looks to shoot with sophomore Vanessa Gould playing defense during Friday’s practice. Photos by Patti Wilk

Kaneland girls feel they can replace successful leaders
KANELAND—Last February’s season-ending regional loss to Plano hurt in more ways than one for Kaneland girls basketball.

After falling behind in the Burlington Central semifinal, Kaneland almost administered the comeback to end all comebacks before a last-ditch three-point try missed. To come back so far only to fall short smarted, along with the fact it marked the end for six seniors responsible for so much success and a regional title the year prior.

However, with the calendar turning to 2013-14, eighth-year coach Ernie Colombe has confidence the returning players can gel with the varsity newcomers to make things happen along the lines of the last two regular seasons.

“A great group of kids, we miss them on and off the court,” Colombe said. “We feel pretty strong about this group. They had a really good summer, and we had some players step up. I think the big positive to having all those seniors leave, they had an impact on the kids who stayed.”

With eight returning to the varsity ranks, Colombe was still working on a rotation that optimizes success.

“We’re still figuring that out. We’ve got some players that have stepped up. We certainly have some players we think will be in that rotation. We’re trying to figure out a few spots,” Colombe said.

Key returning components for the Lady Knights, who finished 15-11 in 2012-13, include personnel like senior center Kelly Wallner, sophomore forward Vanessa Gould, senior forward Marina Schaefer, along with forwards Brittany Kemp and Ally Van Bogaert, who saw a handful of minutes. Returning members of the backcourt include senior Caroline Heimerdinger, Amber Winquist-Bailey and Katie Brinkman.

“Caroline really stepped up and had a great summer and is playing real well right now. She had a lot of minutes last year and finished off real strong. Amber might be the most improved player we’ve had. She’s shooting threes and beating people off the dribble. She’s really stepped up for us and Vanessa has extended her range a bit, and she does a lot of things real well. Marina has always had a role with us and her role will be a bit bigger this year,” Colombe said.

In personnel like Wallner, Van Bogaert and Bailey Crimmins, Colombe has a pleasant problem of entering the season with bona fide height for the first time in ages.

“It’s nice to come into a season with a roster that has players with a ‘six’ (6 feet tall). We’ve got some size, and a couple of kids at 5-9, 5-10. One of our strengths hopefully will be rebounding, and we’ll able to do things we want to do on offense,” Colombe said.

Total newcomers to the KHS girls hoops varsity ranks include Crimmins in the frontcourt, along with sophomore guard Camri Conley, junior forward Taylor Eaves, junior guard Emily Grams and junior guard Rachel Miller.

A challenge for Kaneland will be how to supplant the sometimes-prolific scoring left behind by fearless shooters like Allyson O’Herron.

“I think honestly, we’re going to be scoring in different ways than we did last year. I think this group runs a little bit better. Collectively, we should be scoring more points in our fast break. Part of that is rebounding better,” Colombe said.

In terms of the Northern Illinois Big XII, Colombe eyes the landscape as a possible uphill challenge.

“Looking at what we’ve lost, we’re the only school in the conference not to return an all-conference player. Everyone has one. We think we’ve got players who have stepped up and can put us in the mix,” Colombe said.

Kaneland’s season begins on Thursday, Nov. 21, with a matchup vs. West Aurora. The Lady Knights then head to the IC Catholic Thanksgiving Tournament that begins on Saturday, Nov. 23, against Luther North. NIB-12 action commences on Friday, Dec. 6, at Sycamore.

Photo: Dodgers win

2013 Oct 20 -053 Wasco Championship game!
WASCO—The Wasco competitive Major team Dodgers won the championship game verses the Brewers in a well-pitched defensive battle between the two teams Oct. 20 in Wasco.

The Dodgers were able to score two runs with timely hitting and base running to win the game 2-0.

The team included Victor Krause (front row, from left), Cody Krawczyk, Sam Jackson, Tyler Conklin, Carter Askew, (back row) Head Coach Craig Askew, Will Cushman, Tyler Johnson, Colton, Vito Brandonisio, Ben Durbala and Alex Buchanan (not pictured: Dalton Askew). Courtesy Photo


Leveraging Success

Photo: Kaneland sophomore Austin Parks carries some familiar weight up the hill during the annual wrestling training/team building practice at Johnson’s Mound in Elburn on Saturday. Photo by Patti Wilk

KANELAND—With a 13-13 dual mark and three state qualifiers in the four of departed seniors Dan Goress, Esai Ponce and Zach Theis, it might be hard for Kaneland wrestling to reach similar or further heights.

If any team is up to the challenge, it’ll be the Kaneland wrestling troop.

Back in the fold is head coach Monty Jahns, who previously stepped down after last season, but returned after projected coach Jeremy Kenny took a coaching job on the Plano staff.

With a capable lineup that reached second place at the Class 2A Sycamore Regional and a 145-pound first-place trophy, Jahns will miss the group as much as anyone.

“First of all, it was a fun group of kids. It really carried over to the kids. Without Dan in the room, I don’t know if the others would have been quite as successful as they were. I thought we had a successful individual year. That group is a hard working group,” Jahns said.

It’s reassuring to Jahns to have returning grapplers who were witnesses to last season’s postseason events.

“I think they knew that up front, but believe a little more when they see it,” Jahns said. “They know what his work ethic was and how intense he was.”

Returning to the fold with weight classes to be determined are personnel like lower weight class anchors Adam Mish and Dane Goodenough. Zach Russell, at 164 pounds a year ago, looks to move up. Justin Diddell looks to fill senior leadership.

George Strang and Zach Parker look to Wrestling damage opposing ranks after being in. Willowbrook move-in Tom Price adds experience from the crowded West Suburban conference. Austin Parks projects to have a spot in the lineup, as does Ryan Bridge.

Freshmen like Jacob Scheer and Matthew Redman could find opportunity to break into the ranks, according to Jahns.

Kaneland will be sure to give six full minutes of aggressive wrestling, no matter the opponent.

“We’re just going to ask them not to quit, and I don’t think they will. What I see in the room, I’ve never had anybody just give up in a match. That’s all I’m going to ask of them,” Jahns said.

The quest begins on Tuesday, Nov. 26, at the East Moline Quad. The home slate begins on Saturday, Nov 30, against Burlington Central, Wheaton-Warrenville South and Freeport.


Kaneland Youth Competitive Cheer qualifies for State

The Kaneland Youth Competitive Cheer team ended its regular season by earning a bid to the State competition in December. The team is in its second year of existence and is comprised of girls in grades 6-8 from the Kaneland community.

Preparation for this season began in the summer. The team practiced between two and two and a half hours, two to three days per week. Once school started, the girls continued to practice once a week.

The team competed in three regular season competitions this year. At the competitions, Kaneland was judged on several criteria, including overall performance and execution of their routine (dance, pyramids, jumps and fundamentals of cheer), which was limited to three minutes.

In order to participate in the State competition, the team must pay an entrance fee of $70 per girl. The team is holding a raffle to help offset the cost of both the entrance fees and the hotel stays during the competition. Raffle tickets are $5 each and can be purchased from any of the team members or by emailing

Three softball signings at KHS

Three Kaneland High School softball standouts signed with three separate universities on Nov. 13 in the KHS library in front of their teammates, families and coaches. Lauren Zick signed with St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y., Lexi Roach signed with Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio, and Lanie Callaghan signed with Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Ind.

Kaneland announces interim athletics, activities director

Maple Park—Kaneland School District 302 recently announced a finalized plan for filling the position of interim athletics and activities director for the remainder of the 2013-14 school year.

The position will be filled by a team of three retired educators, who will each contribute to the program in unique ways.

Ross Truemper and Rudy Keller come to Kaneland with numerous years of administrative experience and expertise, including experience in athletics, activities and high school principalships. As retired administrators, they are well known in the area for the strong administrative support they have been able to offer school districts on an interim basis. Most recently, they worked together for two years as West Aurora High School’s interim principal.

Ralph Drendel returns to Kaneland High School as a third member of the team. As a former Kaneland High School assistant athletic director, coach, teacher and student, Ralph brings with him a passion for Kaneland and a commitment to supporting athletics and activities programming.

The team approach to filling the interim position was crafted with the goal of both supporting needs for the remainder of the current school year, as well as identifying processes and setting up systems that will promote success when the permanent position is filled.

Kaneland High School will begin gathering feedback and input from community, staff and students in January 2014 regarding the search for a permanent athletics and activities director.

JoAnn M. Haring

JoAnn M. Haring, 65, of Batavia, formerly of Lily Lake, passed away Nov. 15, 2013.

She was born March 11, 1948, in St. Charles, the daughter of Marvin and Josephine (Neri) Toppel.

JoAnn grew up in St. Charles and attended local schools. She graduated from St. Charles High School with the class of 1966.

JoAnn and Richard “Dick” Haring were united in marriage on Dec. 17, 1966 and were married for 20 years.

They began their new life in Elburn for a time before moving to Lily Lake. While Dick worked outside the house, JoAnn worked to make their house a home. They welcomed a son, Klentin, in 1970, and made their family complete when their daughter Kelli was born in 1972. While the children were growing, JoAnn worked in the kitchen of the Lily Lake Elementary School for several years.

JoAnn’s hands were always full and busy. Whether it was knitting, doing jig saw puzzles or voraciously reading (sometimes finishing a book in a single day), JoAnn never stopped except when it came to her beloved Chicago Cubs. The sun rose and set with her boys in blue, and one of the highlights of her life came when she visited them during spring training. Her love for her children was never ending, and though she left without being able to say goodbye, her legacy of memories continue on in the hearts of all who loved her.

She is survived by her children, Klent (Michelle) Haring of DeKalb and Kelli Larsen of Sycamore; four grandchildren, Eathon Larsen, Logan Haring, Keagon Larsen and Skylar Haring; one brother, Mike (Debbie) Toppel of Arizona; one sister-in-law, Hollie Toppel of Arizona; several nieces and nephews, and a family of friends.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Marvin and Josephine Toppel; and one brother, Tom Toppel.

A memorial visitation will take place Friday, Nov. 22, 4 to 7 p.m. at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. Private family burial will follow cremation at a later date.

A memorial has been established in JoAnn’s name. Checks may be made to the “JoAnn Haring Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at

LaVerne Haug

LaVerne Haug, 86, of Virgil, passed away peacefully on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, at Lincolnshire Place, in Sycamore.

He was born Oct. 23, 1927, in Elgin, the son of Joseph and Margaret (Mettel) Haug.

LaVerne grew up on the family farm until he reached 8 years old. The family moved to Virgil in 1936 and continued to farm while LaVerne attended local schools. He graduated from Maple Park High School with the class of 1946. After graduation, LaVerne returned to the fields of his youth and helped run the farm from sunrise to sunset.

LaVerne met his future wife in the halls of his high school. Iris Barrett caught his eye but kept his heart. They graduated together and eventually walked down a different aisle together when they were united in marriage on Dec. 12, 1953.

At age 25, LaVerne was drafted into the United States Army. There were no wars to be fought during his time in the service, but he served his country proudly and faithfully nonetheless. He was honorably discharged in September of 1955.

LaVerne and Iris called El Paso, Texas, home while he was stationed there for a time. After returning to civilian life, they moved back to the family farm while LaVerne’s parents moved to town. Thousands of memories were “harvested” during the next many years as LaVerne and Iris welcomed three children to make their family complete.

LaVerne added construction to his list of jobs and worked for Soderquist Construction in Geneva, building rural bridges. After he was self-employed for a time, LaVerne was a union cabinet installer in Chicago.

When he wasn’t working, LaVerne, his family and a host of childhood friends, loved to escape eight hours north to a cabin in Wisconsin. Fishing and waterskiing (and maybe even a few beers) were enjoyed immensely by LaVerne. The memories made during those trips were as indelible as they were priceless. When he was “semi-retired,” he would take his granddaughter to her babysitter every day and was always ready to help friends and neighbors with projects (as long as they had beer).

He is survived by his loving wife of almost 60 years, Iris Haug; three children, Joe (Karen) Haug of Corpus Christi, Texas, James (Mary Beth) Haug of Pittsburgh, Penn. and Amber Jorgensen of Sycamore; six grandchildren, Dennis, Glenna, Sara, Adam, Luke and Iris; three great-grandchildren, Carson, Ethan and Landon; one sister Carol Schulz; one sister-in-law, Joan Haug; many nieces, nephews and a family of farming friends far and wide.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Margaret Haug; one sister, Virginia Haug; and two brothers; Donald Haug and Eugene Haug.

A memorial visitation was held on Monday at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL 60119. Private family burial will follow cremation at a later date.

A memorial has been established in his name to benefit LaVerne’s favorite charities. Checks may be made to the “LaVerne Haug Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at, where you can also see his full-life story.

Charles Edward ‘Charlie’ Thul

Charles Edward “Charlie” Thul, 65, of Cortland, formerly Elburn, passed away unexpectedly at his home in Cortland on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013.

He was born June 16, 1948, in Redbank, N.J., the son of Charles and Rita Thul.

Charlie grew up in Red Bank and attended local schools. He graduated with the class of 1966.

After working local jobs for a time, Charlie enlisted in the United States Navy, proudly serving his country until he returned to civilian life in Park Forest, Ill., with his wife, Barbara Latourette. They welcomed home a son, Charles Edward Thul III, who would not only continue the family legacy, but also made their family complete.

Charlie and Barbara’s paths diverged, each taking a different road in life. Charlie continued to work construction in and around the suburbs. He loved what he did, but soon found he loved someone more. Her name was Cindy Morano. They met while Charlie was working at Builder’s Square and sold her a fence. That simple transaction turned into something more beautiful when they were united in marriage in Naperville, Ill., at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church on May 10, 1995.

They began their new life together in Naperville for a time before settling in Elburn. Charlie continued to work construction until the housing downturn forced him into retirement in 2007. He never gave up and eventually found inspiration in the kitchen while helping Cindy run her store, Party Animals, in Elburn. Charlie began attending Elgin Community College in 2012 and worked toward becoming a pastry chef.

Charlie was the best grandpa you could find, and cheered the loudest at all of their activities. They also went to numerous destinations, with fun on order with every trip. Everybody had a great time when they hung out with grandpa.

Using the skills he honed on the work sites of his youth, Charlie crafted beautiful one-of-a-kind rocking horses, trains and airplanes. He also learned to scuba dive and pilot a plane.

Charlie always said he loved to travel, but never went anywhere, although that’s only half-true, because besides traveling back to his old stomping grounds in New Jersey, Charlie also made it all the way to Pakistan.

He was a man among men and larger than life to his family. His shoes will never be filled and his legacy of laughter and love will never be forgotten.

He is survived by his wife, Cindy Thul; one son, Charlie Thul; six grandchildren, Zachary Benson, Briana Aken, Cody Benson, Nathaniel Aken, Sarah Thul and Charles Edward Thul IV; two siblings, Mary (Neil) Smith and John (Patty) Thul; many nieces, nephews and a family of friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Rita Thul.

Following cremation, private family services will be held at a later date.

Memorials may be made to the charity of your choice. For his full-life story, visit

Editorial: Local municipalities dive headfirst into holiday season

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, local municipalities are getting ready to put their respective holiday-themed events on display for the entire Kaneland community to enjoy.

Each local holiday event is unique—no question about it. However, all of the events boast familiar themes: the spirit of Christmas, the joy of giving and the celebration of friends and family.

Kicking off the holiday festivities is Maple Park’s “Make and Take” event, which will take place Wednesday, Dec. 4, 6 to 8 p.m. at the Maple Park American Legion, 203 Main St.

The Make and Take is a crafting night meant for children ages 3 and up. However, everyone is welcome to participate. There will be seven different craft stations set up so that participants can walk around and visit at their own pace. Some items participants can make this year include: ornaments, letters to Santa, gift bags and gift boxes. Cookies and lemonade will be served during the event, and festive holiday music will be played. This is a free event, but monetary donation tubs will be available, if anyone would like to support the Fun Fest Committee’s efforts. Any donations received will help to fund all the activities the Fun Fest puts on throughout the year.

Next up will be the Elburn Christmas Stroll on Friday, Dec. 6, from 5 to 8 p.m. around Elburn. Mr. and Mrs. Claus will arrive at the Town and Country Public Library (via transport provided by the Elburn Fire Department) and have their picture taken with children in attendance. Elburn firefighters will host a tree-burning demonstration at the Fire Station. At the Elburn and Countryside Community Center will be a Holiday Crafters Bazaar, wreath silent auction and the Elburn Herald’s life-sized “Kandyland” game.

Remember our veterans as you view the decorated Christmas tree in front of the American Legion Hall, and be sure to visit the many beautiful nativity displays from around the world at St. Gall’s Church. You can also observe Conley’s annual manger dedication on Route 47 and Pierce.

Amazing Grace Antiques and Ream’s Elburn Market will also participate in the Stroll, as will Main Street eateries, including Paisano’s Pizza and Grill, Schmidt’s Towne Tap, Alice’s and Eddie Gaedel’s.

The Christmas fun will continue on Saturday, Dec. 7, with the Christmas in Kaneville event, which will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and include an inaugural tree lighting, Cookie Walk, craft show and bake sale, and a Customer Appreciation promotion at both Hill’s Country Store and Old Second Bank’s Kaneville location.

In addition, the Kaneville Public Library will host kids crafts, story, basket raffles and free drawing. Local musical students will put on a musical performance.

Last but not least is Sugar Grove’s Holiday in the Grove event, which will take place on Saturday, Dec. 7 at the Sugar Grove Community House, John Shields Elementary School and Sugar Grove Public Library.

Breakfast with Santa can be found at the Community House from 8 to 10 a.m. Cost of the meal is $6 per person.

Baking and decorating cookies will also be part of the event. Mrs. Santa Claus will have a Sweet Shoppe set up at the Sugar Grove United Methodist Church. The church will sponsor wagon rides this year as a way to transport people from the church to John Shields Elementary School, 85 S. Main St., Sugar Grove.

At the school, there will be a Kids Holiday Shop, where participants will be able to buy Christmas gifts for their families and friends. Various holiday crafters and vendors will offer a section of their display for kids to buy items priced between $1 and $6. Gift wrapping will also be offered free of charge, separate from the vendors.

The Sugar Grove Public Library, 125 Municipal Drive, Sugar Grove, will also host several activities such as crafts, stories, games and movies. The Kaneland Madrigals will also be on hand to perform at the library during the event. Refreshments will be included.

As you can see, there are many Christmas-themed events to partake in early next month. And because each event is special in its own right, we recommended experiencing all four of them and taking a moment to appreciate the long hours and hard work each municipality has put into its event.

Community Corner: A thank you from Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters

by Denise Blaszynski
President, Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters

The autumn season, specifically Thanksgiving, is the perfect time of year for reflection—a time when we are thankful for what we have and what we have been given.

The Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters is thankful for the great work that has been achieved this fall. What many people may not realize is that most of this achievement would not be possible without the support and dedication of hardworking parent and student volunteers.

The Boosters would like to express their overwhelming appreciation to the following individuals for sharing their time and talents with our organization. From the heat and humidity of a late summer evening to a cold, damp night in October, the following community members braved the ever-changing elements at our football candy table. Thank you to Lois Kral, Teresa Witt, Valeria Mass, Judy Lopez, Shevon Ramirez, Sheila Albano, Laura Keske, Michelle Klecka, Colleen Weiberg, Sue Speckman, Laura McPhee, Kathy Zoppa, Dee Withey, Lisa Eaves, Jacque Bridge, Jennifer Matias, Trisha Mills, John Purnell, Joe Blaszynski, Sara Mitchinson, Jillian Mitchinson and Ally Mitchinson. We could not have done all of this without the behind-the-scenes work from Robin Urich for purchasing the candy, and Matt Gale, JoAnn Krueger and Trisha Mills for the setup for the evening.

There were even more opportunities for parental help throughout this fall season. It was 9 p.m. on a cold, wintry Friday evening in Almost, Maine, and magic can be seen in the twinkling lights of the Aurora Borealis. That magic of Kaneland High School’s fall play, “Almost, Maine,” was due in part to the many parents who helped with donating food and beverages for the cast and crew, coordinating meals for Tech Week, or donating time at each of the performances at either the will call or star table, as an usher, handing out programs or working in the box office. Thank you to Rose Miller, Anne DiSandro, Maggie Heinzer, Kristi Grams, Jay Grams, Tim Hayman, Darla Hayman, Kelly Gallagher, Tiffany Swain-Bolden, DeJon Bolden, Ryan Koeppen, Trisha Mills, Mike Miller, Charia Bolden, Gloria Swain, Jane Lynn, Lisa Eaves, Dani Hayman, Carol Tindall, Matt Gale, Kara Morris and Spencer Serwin. Thank you to Cathy Shaver for coordinating the box office and the volunteers for the play—an incredibly huge undertaking.

This Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., Kaneland Harter Middle School will present “Crumpled Classics,” a series of plays within a play. It’s a comedy treat sprinkled with outrageous takes on some very familiar characters, such as Romeo and Juliet, the Phantom of the Opera, Holmes and Watson, and more. Donated baked goods and candy will be sold at the concession table run by parent volunteers.

Parental involvement is one of the key pillars in any nonprofit organization. Whether you donate your time or your talents, the key to our success rests in our volunteers. For more information about the Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters, please send an email to

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Letter: Knights Wrestling kicks off its season

The Knights Wrestling community is on the move at all levels. Kaneland High School kicked it off by inviting the middle school and club wrestlers to join in their Johnsons Mound training session. They braved the weather last Saturday to spend three hours of hardcore exercising, strength training and team building. Each wrestler performed in excellent fashion.

The first meet for KHS will happen as the Knights travel to East Moline for a quad meet on Tuesday, Nov. 26.

Harter Middle School wrestlers are stepping up on the middle school circuit, sporting a very nice 8-0 record already with wins over Oswego’s Traughber, Bednarcik and Plank schools, as well as Aurora’s Jewel and Washington schools. HMS wrestlers also participated in a quad meet in St. Charles, claiming an undefeated streak. They will take a break and then return in December with an away meet at Batavia’s Rotolo Middle School.

Knights Wrestling Club began their practices last week with plenty of new faces. We have begun reviewing basic moves and simple combinations, getting our new wrestlers up to speed with the returning ones. Due to the new sponsorship program we began this season, KWC was able to earn enough money to purchase new singlets this season. We are hoping to debut them at the Monty Jahns Knights Open, slated for Sunday, Dec. 15, at Kaneland High School. We will welcome 13 other clubs to compete while we run a full concession and various vendors throughout the day. This will also be the opening tournament for the Knights Wrestling Club.

Michelle Parks
President, Knights Wrestling Club

Letter: Putting in two cents on Kaneland’s proposed tax levy

I just wanted to put in my two cents about the tax levy proposed by the Kaneland School District. Many of us out here in the private sector have not had a raise in years, and in some cases have taken cuts in pay and benefits. Some are working multiple jobs, and in many cases, multiple part-time jobs. You, as a taxing body, cannot continue to place this burden on the backs of people who are struggling.

I hear many teachers and administrators complain about pay, lack of teaching staff and materials. We here in Kane County have some of the highest taxes in the country. Well, how about the teachers taking a pay cut, or getting rid of too many administrators.

The schools complain that they may lose teachers or have bigger class sizes. Tough. There is no need to pay a superintendent a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year. If they do not like it, get rid of them. There are many qualified people and teachers who would be more than willing to have a job for less money.

The idea of buying out someone’s contract for big money is nuts. The idea of public workers retiring at 55 is also nuts. Everyone else in the private sector is lucky to retire at ages 65-70. Go into any Walmart or Home Depot and you will see seniors working to support themselves. They are having a hard time meeting their tax bills, and in many cases, must move. Most retired private sector people who are lucky to have 401(k) plans, etc., do not get yearly raises with their retirement, while school retirees do.

I live in Elburn, and the permit costs to build a $330,000 home here is approximately $14,300. I know this because I just did it. You can build a $500,000 home in Naperville for one-third of this cost in permits. At every turn in the road, you are taxing us out of this county.

Please do not tell me about taxes going down as property values drop. Have your taxes dropped? If so, how much? The most mine have gone down in the past five years is about $20.

While I do value a good school system, you, as our representatives, must have a firm resolve to change the way this system operates. We cannot continue to carry the tax burden for a broken system.

Dan Herring

Kaneville resident to take relief supplies to tornado-damaged area

KANEVILLE—Kaneville resident Kathy Hoffman is asking the public to donate tornado relief items to Washington, Ill., residents affected by last Sunday’s tornado outbreak.

Hoffman this Sunday will transport the donated items down to Washington.

Items that are needed include cases of water, personal hygiene items, blankets, work gloves, 39-gallon garbage bags and 18-gallon Rubbermaid tubs

A donation dropbox for the items is located at Hill’s Country Store, 2S133 Harter Road, Kaneville. For more information, contact Hoffman at (630) 605-7584.


Day in the Park to return?

ELBURN—Fireworks may return to Elburn in 2015, and both the Chamber of Commerce and the Elburn Lions Club have formed committees to revive the Day in the Park festival.

The fireworks were scuttled in 2008 for financial reasons, sending many families to neighboring towns for Fourth of July festivities.

But three residents—Chamber Vice President Dan Murphy, Lions Club President David Broze and village trustee David Gualdoni—have been working together behind the scenes for the past six months to bring back Day in the Park.

If the festival returns, it will be held the weekend after the Fourth of July—potentially either July 11 or 12—at Elburn’s Lions Park.

“A lot of people go out of town on a holiday weekend,” Murphy said. “We want people to be able to celebrate in their community. So we probably would want to have (the fireworks) the weekend after the Fourth.”

Broze, who is heading up the Lions’ fireworks committee, said that although there was a lot of enthusiasm about the idea, bringing back the event is both logistically and financially complicated.

“It’s kind of like playing dominoes,” Broze said. “You’ve got to get everything lined up.”

Hosting fireworks costs between $10,000 and $15,000 each year, Murphy said, and coming up with that money has been a major hurdle to bringing the event back.

The Chamber is considering ways to raise enough money to fund the first year, including doing fundraising and potentially using some of the money it raises during its annual golf outing, Murphy said. After that, Day in the Park will have to pay for itself.

“Previously, there wasn’t a lot of (financial) success with Day in the Park,” Murphy said. “It was hard to pull people in for all day, but we’re thinking about things that will draw people in and create fireworks revenue. We’d like to be able to earn enough that it’s self-sustaining.”

One of the major concerns, he said, is that the Chamber and the Lions Club do not lose money on the event, as they did in prior years.

Since the fireworks themselves will be free, Murphy said, Day in the Park has to have other activities that would bring in money, such as food vendors and live bands. The committees are working to determine what activities might help raise revenue, Broze said, and few specifics have been decided.

“The only thing that really we have a consensus on is that we are open to looking at (reviving Day in the Park),” Broze said.

Broze said the other challenges were largely logistical. Large events like Day in the Park require a lot of planning and time, including getting approval from the Village Board, arranging for the Police Department to do traffic control and for Public Works to post signs, schedule activities, bring in portable bathrooms, arrange clean-up and garbage removal, and find enough volunteers to work the event, he said.

Right now, Broze said, the main thing that the Lions Club needs in order to bring fireworks back to Elburn is volunteers. The fireworks committee currently has five or six members and needs more, he said.

“The challenge is just time. That’s really what it comes down to. We’re all volunteers, the folks down at the Chamber are volunteers, (and) in my opinion, our village trustees are also volunteering a lot of their time outside of the meetings. We’re all working after hours and during lunchtimes to make this happen,” Broze said. “You only get so many dinners with your family and, you know, time is always our biggest obstacle. That can be overcome if you have more volunteers. Something that might take one person years to do can be achieved in several months if you have a team together.”

Murphy told the Village Board in September that the Chamber was considering bringing back the festival, but nothing has been presented to the board for action yet, Gualdoni said.

“I hope it comes back; it’s a nice family-friendly event,” Gualdoni said. “I know the Lions Club and Chamber are working on it. We’ll see what they come up with.”

He agreed that getting enough volunteers to plan and fundraise was a challenge.

“The problem is that you can’t get people to commit to work it,” Gualdoni said. “A lot of (people in Elburn) are from out of town, and a lot of people are just busy. It’s like anything else in life. Some people will go above and beyond. Some people are busy with their own lives.”

Anyone interested in volunteering to help bring back Day in the Park can contact Broze at (630) 465-8890.


Holiday spirit arrives in Sugar Grove

PHOTOS: Holiday In The Grove’s third annual lighting of the tree was held Saturday morning at the Sugar Grove Community Center. The Sugar Grove Fire Department chauffeured Santa Claus to do the honors in lighting this year’s tree. Santa posed for photos and guests enjoyed variety of Dave’s Coffee Cakes, coffee, orange juice and hot chocolate. Children decorated ornaments, which they hung on the tree. Photo by Lynn Logan

SUGAR GROVE—Kids, parents, grandparents, community members and even pets gathered around an extensively decorated Christmas tree on Saturday morning at the Sugar Grove Community House for Holiday in the Grove’s third annual Tree Lighting ceremony.

Although the tree was small in stature, the spirit of everyone in attendance was tremendous.

Holiday in the Grove board members wasted no time in delivering a dose of holiday spirit to the community. The board’s hard work and dedication was evident during the event, when individuals from the Sugar Grove area warmly welcomed the Tree Lighting gala.

“Our tree that we had last year died, but the Spring Bluff Nursery in Sugar Grove donated the tree that we have for the lighting this year,” said Diana Baker, president of Holiday in the Grove. “Also, Kelly Zablocki, a school bus driver for McDole Elementary School, designed the sign that we have on display, and it will be used the day of the event for Holiday in the Grove.”

Kids and pets had their picture snapped beside the tree as they waited for the lighting to commence that morning.

Sugar Grove Library Board trustee Art Morrical, along with his wife, Rogene, and their Labrador, Cody, participated in the festivities.

“We like to come out and support them at the Tree Lighting, and we also volunteer with them for Holiday in the Grove. Our dog, Cody, is very sociable and loves to be around everyone too,” said Art, who is also a volunteer for Holiday in the Grove.

Before the lighting ceremony, Cody walked up to the tree and posed for his owners for several pictures as if he was accustomed to being at photo shoots.

“He’s (Cody) getting older, and we like to make an effort to take his picture a lot. He’s used to posing,” Art said.

Everyone’s attention was drawn to the fire truck honking as Santa was dropped off at the Community House. He was a big hit among the youngsters in attendance as they showered him with hugs, doled out high-fives, and posed with him beside the tree for a picture.

“The (Sugar Grove) Fire Department always drops off Santa for the Tree Lighting. They’re involved each year, and they also help with Holiday in the Grove,” said Joy Rubo, who is a Holiday in the Grove board member.
After the lighting of the tree, kids and their parents and grandparents went inside the Community House for crafts and refreshments. Dave’s Coffee Cake and hot chocolate and juice were available for anyone interested.

“We wanted to have a sampling of Dave’s Coffee Cake today, because we are thinking of having it available at Holiday in the Grove as a fundraiser the day of the event,” Baker said.

There was also a table set up for kids to decorate ornaments with a variety of holiday themed stickers. After decorating, kids excitedly ran outside to hang them on the tree lighting evergreen. Sugar Grove village trustee Sean Herron participated and helped out with the tree lighting event with his infant son, Declan.

“I’m volunteering this year with Holiday in the Grove, and I want to help out as much as possible,” Herron said.

Sugar Grove’s Holiday in the Grove will take place Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Sugar Grove Community House, Kaneland John Shields Elementary School and Sugar Grove Public Library.

Conley Outreach, Salvation Army bring Christmas Kettles to Kaneland area

ELBURN—Look for the familiar red Salvation Army kettles this November and December throughout the Kaneland and Big Rock area. Conley Outreach (the local Salvation Army Service Extension representative), together with local Scout troops, businesses, 4-H clubs, church groups and Community Care Team volunteers, will collect donations on Saturdays and the days just before Christmas outside various local businesses.

Every year, Conley Outreach receives about $3,500 from the Salvation Army Metropolitan Division to help needy families pay for rent, heat, food, clothing or other necessities. Because of the current economic conditions, this money is depleted quickly. The Christmas Kettles enable Conley Outreach to raise additional money and replenish this fund. 90 percent of all the money donated in our area kettles will stay in our local Salvation Army fund. All local kettles have a sign stating that the money stays in the Kaneland and Big Rock area. This past year over 50 families received assistance from this fund. Many more need help.

Consider making a donation when you are out shopping this month. Donations can also be sent to Conley Outreach/Salvation Army Fund, PO Box 931 Elburn IL 60119. If you have a group that would like to staff the kettles one Saturday or on Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 23-24, in either Sugar Grove or Elburn, contact Carol Alfrey at (630) 365-2880.


Photos: Elementary students honor Veterans Day

A ceremony to honor veterans took place at 8:50 a.m. Monday by the flagpole on the campus of Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School in Elburn. The school’s students and staff, the Elburn Legion, the Fox Valley Concert Band, and Boy Scout Pack 107 participated in the event.

Boy Scout Pack 107 (above) helps local veterans unfold the flag.

Wiley Overly (above) from Elburn American Legion, kicks off the ceremony. Wiley served in the Army during the Vietnam era and the National Guard.

Collin Miller (above), a John Stewart third-grader, takes the podium to say a word to veterans for their job well done.

John Anderson (above), an Army veteran from the Vietnam era who resides in Batavia, salutes during the ceremony at John Stewart, where his granddaughter attends school.

Students and staff (above) raise flags to salute veterans.

School Board discusses tentative Tax Levy

KANELAND—The Kaneland community on Monday had the chance to weigh in on the tentative Tax Levy recently proposed by the Kaneland School Board.

The requested amount is $52,210,825, and includes operating levy amounts and bond and interest amount. The operating levy is $42,345,200.

Close to three dozen people packed the meeting room at Harter Middle School, including Kaneland taxpayers and parents, community leaders and district employees.

Elburn resident Dave Filipski stood up to express his concern. He said that he works for the private sector, and that since 2006, his pay had gone down and he has not been receiving yearly increases.

“We just paid our taxes and everybody was having a good time,” he said.

He spoke about taxing bodies, like the forest preserve, police, fire and road departments, having an “it’s only” dollar amount.

“We’re strapped,” Filipski said. “And we’re strapped hard.”

Sugar Grove resident Dan Borowiak talked on behalf of clients he has in his Sugar Grove business.

“You’re seeing a great deal of pain out there,” Borowiak said.

Elburn resident and district teacher Lynn McHenry spoke in favor of the levy and noted the consequences if it did not pass, including many large class sizes and the loss of teachers.

The tentative levy had been approved by the majority of the Kaneland School Board on Oct. 28. The two board members who voted against the levy were Valente and Pedro Rivas.

The proposed levy would mean a tax increase for homeowners, and would pay for things such as programs, services, operating costs and salaries for the 2014-15 school year.

At the Oct. 28 School Board meeting, Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs, assistant superintentendent for Business, gave examples of assessed home values ranging from $200,000 to $500,000. For example, a home valued at $200,000 in 2012 had an approximate tax bill for the Kaneland District of $4,479. If the home’s assessed value remained static between 2012 and 2013, its approximate tax bill for this year would be $4,904, or an increase of $425.

However, suppose the above-mentioned $200,000 home experienced a 7 percent decrease in value between 2012 and 2013. Now valued at $186,000, the home’s tax bill would be $4,561, or an increase of $82.

Thus, the range in tax bill increase for a home valued at $200,000 last year is $82 to $425, depending on how much the home’s value has decreased.

Provided home value has not shifted between 2012 and 2013, a $300,000 home would see a tax increase of $638. A $400,000 home would experience a tax increase of $850, while a $500,000 home would see its tax bill increase $1,063.

At a 7 percent decrease in value, a home valued at $300,000 last year would see a tax bill increase of $123, while a $400,000 home would see a tax bill bump of $164. A home once valued at $500,000 would now be worth $465,000, and would see a tax increase of $205.

Fuchs provided new information at the Monday meeting about DeKalb County. In her levy update report, she noted that the estimated EAV from DeKalb property is estimated to decline about 7 percent. This is similar to Kane County’s estimated decrease. New DeKalb County construction is estimated to be $100,000. She wrote that an estimated new construction amount of $3,200,000 had been used in the estimated new construction amount for the levy formula. She noted that she is not recommending changes to the tentative levy amount the board had approved.

Fuchs provided three option scenarios. Option 1 is as noted, with a CPI of 1.7 percent where the average increase ranges from $425 to $1,063 for home values ranging from $200,000 to $500,000.

Option 2 with a 1.2 percent CPI, the average increase would be $405 to $1,014. Option 3 with a .7 percent CPI range is from $386 to $965. Option 4 has a .0 percent CPI and the average increase is $359 to $897.

“The difference between the 1.7 percent and 0 percent to the taxpayer is estimated to be between $66 and $166, but the decrease to the district would be about $688,000 less if the board levied the 0 percent,” Fuchs later said.

Tension and tempers flared during the meeting.

“We’re taxing people out of their homes,” School Board member Tony Valente said. “I can not stand here and allow you to do that.”

Valente also questioned Fuchs about the Special Education fund in regard to July 31 through now.

“What has changed in the Special Ed fund?” Valente asked. “What has changed in the Special Ed fund that has warranted us doubling that amount?”

Fuchs explained that the education fund has maxed its tax rate and EAV has dropped.

“You’re robbing Peter to pay Paul,” Valente said.

Board member Peter Lepatin weighed in on the matter, stating that Special Education is subsidized with General education dollars.

“That is correct,” Fuchs said.

Kaneland grads awarded UIUC engineering scholarships

URBANA-CHAMPAIGN, ILL.—Kaneland High School graduates Marissa Villafuerte and Michael Saucedo recently received scholarships from the The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s College of Engineering.

Villafuerte, studying civil engineering, was awarded both the Boeing Engineering Diversity Scholarship and the Engineering at Illinois Scholarship.

Saucedo, studying aerospace engineering, was awarded the Engineering at Illinois Scholarship.

Students of the Term for fall 2013

KANELAND—The following Kaneland High School students were recently recognized as Students of the Term for Term I of the 2013-14 school year: Grant Wooten (CTE—Business), Jacob Gomes (CTE—Family and Consumer Science), Colin Gussman (English), Madeline Heinzer (Fine Arts—World Language), Matt Alfrey (Fine Arts—Music), Freddy Paulino Martinez (Fine Arts—Art), Alexandra Grimpe (Math), Brandon Bishop and Brandon Murabito (Physical Education/Health), Aaron Steenwyk (Science), Samantha Payton (Social Studies) and Niki Davies (Student Services).

KHS administration and staff congratulates the above-mentioned students on their recent achievement.

Elburn residents receive CABAA scholarships through Lewis University

ROMEOVILLE, ILL.—Brian Zankowski and Kelly Kovacic of Elburn were two of nine Lewis University aviation students to recently receive scholarships from the Chicago Area Business Aviation Association (CABAA).

Zankowski received the Flight Safety Professional Flight Award. The $18,000 scholarship will financially assist him in his extensive training at Flight Safety International, such as flight time in a simulator and ground school training. Zankowski graduated from Lewis University in 2010 with his Bachelor of Science in aviation flight management and economics. Zankowski continues to work on his master’s degree in finance through the university. In addition to being a flight instructor at Lewis University, he works for Blatti Aviation. Zankowski has over 1,950 hours of total time.

Kovacic received a $4,000 scholarship that is awarded to students with a devotion to the business aviation industry and high levels of achievement.

Authentic Moms holds 3rd annual pre-Christmas Swap Shop

Authentic Moms Pre-Christmas Swap Shop

Friday, Nov. 15
and Saturday, Nov. 16
Elburn & Countryside Community
Center Gymnasium
525 N. Main St., Elburn

Drop off items on Nov. 15
from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Pick up items on Nov. 16
from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information, email

ELBURN—North Aurora resident Sue Gremo said she initially found out about the Swap Shop through an Elburn Herald article, and decided to go to look for home schooling materials. What she found was friendship.

Gremo and her friend were off in a corner, talking about Gremo’s niece, whom she had recently lost to suicide. They were both crying. Nicole Dulski approached them and asked if she could pray with them.

The women bonded in that moment.

Gremo ended up joining one of Dulski’s Bible study groups, and this year, she is volunteering at the Swap Shop on Friday to sort and get things ready for Saturday’s sale. Gremo said she loves the idea of the Swap Shop, and she is looking forward to getting more involved.

“You know someone’s going to use something you don’t need,” she said.

Dulski explained that the rule of thumb for a donation is that it should be in good enough shape that you would not be embarrassed to give it to a friend.

“It’s an opportunity for families to pass on items to others that they don’t need anymore,” Dulski said. “The majority of the people who donate are just ordinary people, and when they give, they find that they get back so much more. It’s an opportunity to love other people and the blessings that stem from there.”

The idea of a Swap Shop began about six years ago with a local Christian mothers’ group called the Authentic Moms. The group of women, who attend several different churches and participate in various local Bible study groups, get together on a regular basis for a meal, fellowship and to support each other as moms.

According to Dulski, an Elburn resident, the swapping began informally among the women. Children are always growing out of things and mothers can always use one thing or another for their children.

A few years ago, the group decided to open up the swap to the broader community, Dulski said. This year will be the third annual pre-Christmas Swap Shop. Held in the gymnasium at the Elburn Community Center, the event has grown, with more people coming and more people giving each year.

The moms in this group feel it is their responsibility as Christians to help others in this way. They are inspired by the scriptures that tell them to love others, both in word and in deed, and especially the following Bible verse 1 John 3:16-18.

“But if anyone has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word and talk but in deed and truth.”

“I’m amazed at God and what he does,” she said. “We couldn’t do this without an army of people. It’s a lot of work, but it’s so worth it, every single time.”

Dulski said the email list of families who want to participate has grown to about 150.

“People are contacting me,” she said. “Complete strangers are giving up their whole Friday, or offer to help on Saturday.”

Dulski said that she and the other moms have been collecting items for the past month or so. They have completely filled a trailer, as well as half of her garage.

This year, a number of people from her church, Valley Brook, have offered to help. Church members meet in the Blackberry Creek School on Sundays.

“These people set up and take down an entire church each week,” Dulski said with a laugh. “They’re good people to have help.”

On Friday, a number of volunteers will show up first thing in the morning to accept additional items from people dropping them off. They will stay to neatly fold the children’s clothes and sort them by size, and set up toys, video games, DVDs, children’s furniture and other items around the room.

On Saturday, moms (and dads) will walk past the bounty, searching for Christmas presents for their children, or for an item that would fill a need or a want.

Although it is called a Swap Shop, people don’t need to bring something in order to take something, although many people do. No money is exchanged, nor any credit cards taken. Whatever someone feels they need or want, they are welcome to take it home.

Dulski said that she recently talked to a woman who works at a business in Elburn. The woman had come to the Swap Shop last year, and this year, is donating some items.

She told Dulski that her husband had lost his job last year, and if it hadn’t been for the Swap Shop, they wouldn’t have had any toys for their children for Christmas.

Dulski said it’s also a joy in her heart that her children are learning that it’s not all about what you have.

“It’s an opportunity to introduce another generation to the spirit of giving,” she said.


Knights valiant

Injuries, JCA juggernaut create perfect storm for 2nd-round elimination
JOLIET, ILL.—Even before the Class 5A playoffs began, Kaneland football knew what it could be getting into.

After a convincing win over first-round opponent Hampshire last week, Kaneland would have to deal with Montini Catholic and Sycamore in potential quarterfinal and semifinal matchups.

It was noted football factory Joliet Catholic on the immediate horizon at Joliet Memorial Stadium on Saturday night. With the penchant for big running plays and injuries coming together at an inopportune point for the Knights, Kaneland saw its season end in a 45-8 defeat.

It marked the second straight year that the Knights were tossed in the second round, having lost to host Lincoln-Way West by a 31-15 margin on Nov. 3, 2012.

The previous two seasons saw home semifinal losses to Montini to end those particular seasons.

Kaneland finishes the 2013 campaign at a still-exemplary 9-2, the first year since 2009 that the Knights didn’t finish with a double-digit win total. The loss to the Hilltoppers marked the lowest point total for the Knights since a 42-7 loss to former conference rival Geneva on Oct. 17, 2008.

For the Knights, early-season injuries to running back Jesse Balluff and lineman Zach Thielk converged with the round one back injury to wideout Brandon Bishop, and in-game injuries to quarterback Drew David and lineman Sam Bower to make matters difficult for the visitors.

“David tried to slide as he got hit and hurt his ribs,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said.

David was 6-for-13 for 69 yards before being knocked out of the game. Classmate Tyler Carlson stepped in and went 10-for-18 for 95 yards.

Isaac Swithers ran for 34 yards on seven carries, and John Pruett had 55 yards receiving on five catches.

JCA had 392 yards rushing on the night, paced by Nick Borgra’s and Nick Ivlow’s 140 yards apiece.

KHS began with the ball, saw some openings and moved down the field, thanks to runs by Swithers and David and a pass to Pruett, but the drive stalled after 11 plays and 52 yards following an incomplete pass to Swithers. On the Hilltoppers’ second play from scrimmage, a counter by Ivlow resulted in a 67-yard touchdown scamper with 6:52 to go in the frame, despite Dylan Nauert almost chasing him down.

An additional drive for either team in the quarter stalled, but Joliet Catholic took control in the second quarter. Kaneland had a chance to tie matters with a pass that went through the hands of Pruett in the end zone on a second-and-10 from the 21 of JCA. Two plays later, Matt Rodriguez was wide left on a 38-yard field goal attempt.

Ivlow immediately turned around and rocketed to an 80-yard TD run on the next play with 4:58 remaining in the half for a 14-0 lead. A three-and-out for the Knights gave way to another Hilltopper possession, and Ivlow managed his third touchdown two plays later from 24 yards out, giving the hosts a 21-0 lead with 2:22 before halftime.

Ivlow would cap his astronomical first half on the next drive with a 15-yard touchdown run with 1:06 to go for his fourth touchdown and a 28-0 lead.

The floodgates would open for the Hilltoppers on a 42-yard touchdown run by Borgra with 6:17 left in the third for a 35-0 lead, followed by a 23-yard field goal by Brian Bravo with 4:00 to go for a 38-0 lead, and the running clock kicked in with a 51-yard scoring scamper by Borgra with 29 seconds to go in the third for a 45-0 lead.

Kaneland finally got on the scoreboard with an orchestrated drive that ended on a three-yard run and a two-point catch by Nate Dyer with 6:44 for the final 37-point deficit.

Dyer and company brought their skills the best they could not only throughout the season-ender, but the entire year as well, despite not being at total strength.

“It has been a rough year with injuries,” Dyer said. “Especially on the turf, that’s kind of a nightmare at times for us. Our juniors worked so hard in practice. Everybody is going to talk like all the other schools, saying ‘Our seniors are gone.’ Those kids worked just as hard. I expect them to come back firing.”

“We lost to some good teams this year, but the only thing I can say is just how grateful I am coaching these kids,” Fedderly said. “It was just a tremendous run that we had; unfortunately, when it rained, it poured with the injuries with Bishop, David and Bower. Hats off to (Joliet Catholic), they did a nice job.”

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Lady Knights display Peoria power

Collective effort yields fifth place in Class 2A final
PEORIA, ILL—There may have been no individual state champ for the Lady Knights cross country squad in 2013, but the team-wide effort was still something to behold.

Detweiller Park in Peoria, Ill. was the site for the Class 2A State final race, and saw the Kaneland roster’s fortunes and talent produce a fifth-place team finish.

Kaneland was led by team assets sophomore Brianna Bower, junior Aislinn Lodwig and senior Victoria Clinton, who paced the attack to a 246-point finish. The Lady Knights were given tiebreaker advantage over Chatham Glenwood.

The Lady Knights looked up at only four other teams in the Class 2A setting, with Northern Illinois Big XII rival Yorkville’s 104 points nabbing the trophy, followed by Glenbard South at 130, Vernon Hills at 181 and Marengo at 231.

Yorkville’s program has now nabbed three titles in a row.

For Kaneland, the finish marks a one-place improvement from last year’s sixth-place and 180-point output. It marked a third-straight top-10 finish, with the team finishing eighth in 2011, and marked the highest team finish in 24 years. The Lady Knights’ pack time was 1:47 last year, compared to just 54 seconds in 2013.

The overall individual champion in the competition was Riverside-Brookfield senior Mailin Struck at 16:35, beating Peoria Notre Dame’s Maryjeanne Gilbert by 29 seconds.

For Kaneland, Bower finished in 37th place with a time of 18:33, Lodwig, only healthy in the last five weeks of the year, was in 54th at 18:59, while Clinton, last year’s individual champion, took 76th overall at 19:12. Rounding out the top 5 for the Kaneland outfit were necessary components Abby Shaw and Erika Carlson, with the freshman Shaw finishing in 19:20 for 88th, and Carlson capping her senior season in 94th place with a time of 19:26.

Also taking the course for KHS were seniors Sydney Strang in 126th (19:58) and Anna Piazza in 148th (20:16).

Coach Doug Ecker couldn’t have been more pleased.

“The mark of this team was their ability to overcome injuries and setbacks, having eight or nine runners step up in various races to cover for injured or sick teammates,” Ecker said. “They truly got the most out of their season. I enjoyed every minute of coaching them.”

KHS girls cross country says goodbye to seniors Carlson, Riley Coyle, Christina Delach, Kayla Hedgren, Piazza and Strang.

Photos by Mary Paulson

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Knight boys show tough State of mind

Photo: Senior Nathaniel Kucera crosses the finish line at Saturday’s State meet as Kaneland’s third finisher in 15:54. Photo by Mary Paulson

Tough field meets solid resolve for 22nd place finish
PEORIA, ILL.—Without fail, every time you head down to Detweiller Park in Peoria, Ill., you’re dealing with the best Class 2A boys cross country has to offer.

It was the same in 2013 for the Kaneland roster, which finished 22nd overall as a team on Saturday, thanks to a 493-point output, beating next competitor East Peoria by 42 points. The Knights also yielded a :47 pack. Kaneland finished 15th overall in 2012.

“We are very proud of our boys nonetheless,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “Hundreds of teams did not have this opportunity.”

Overall, Yorkville took the Class 2A crown, thanks to a point total of 119, 15 points better than Lansing, Ill., outfit Illiana Christian. Vernon Hills finished third at 136 points.

Kaneland had a charge led by team juggernauts like Nathaniel Kucera, Andrew Lesak and Sean Spaetzel. Kucera finished 67th to lead the team with a time of 15:54, while Lesak finished 114th overall at 16:17, and Spaetzel crossed the line to end his sophomore campaign in 140th place with a time of 16:31.

“Nathaniel Kucera improved 36 places from his 2012 performance at State,” Clarey said. “He was a runner who brought a lot of humor to our season. Andrew Lesak’s first run at State was a success with a 16:16 time. He will be a leader next fall, and with good reason. He is a very unflappable, balanced and dependable runner. Sean Spaetzel pushed up to finish as our third man today. He was 20 seconds faster than on the course a year ago.”

Shoring up the KHS line were Ryan Bower at 141st with a time of 16:31, and Kyle Carter in 164th at 16:41, doing his best to fight off a stress fracture from the season’s early goings.

“No matter how hard you fight, you have days like this,” Clarey said.

Brandon Park (176th) and Luis Acosta (188th) brought up the back of the State-goers from KHS, with times of 16:50, and 17:00, respectively.

“Sometimes a team struggles, and today it happened to ours. The experiences we had will become positive reference points going forward, as the seniors prepare for an outstanding track season where all seven of them can and will once again be impact runners at the State level,” Clarey said.

Kaneland said goodbye to seniors Acosta, Bower, Dylan Kuipers, Phil Cutsinger, Carter, Kucera and Brock Robertsen.

Photos by Mary Paulson


Kylie Siebert named to CCIW all-conference team

ROCK ISLAND, ILL.—Augustana sophomore Kylie Siebert, a Sugar Grove native and Kaneland graduate, was recently named to the all-conference volleyball team in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin. Siebert, a 5-foot-5 libero, was the lone representative for the Vikings.

She led the team this year in digs with 567 in 107 games played for an average of 5.30 per game. Her average of 5.30 digs per game is the fourth highest single season mark in school history. She also had 28 service aces and 109 setting assists as she helped the Vikings record a 16-15 overall record and a 3-4 mark in the CCIW. It was the second-consecutive winning record for Augustana, which went 20-11 a year ago.

Siebert led the CCIW in digs this past fall with 125 in 21 league matches for a 5.95 average. She was also named to the all-tournament team at the Viking Classic.

A year ago, as a freshman, she was named “Freshman of the Year” for the Vikings when she played in 107 games and had a team-high 475 digs (4.44 average) with 39 service aces and 79 setting assists. So far in her career, she has played in 214 games with 1,042 digs, which is 11th on the Augustana all-time list. She has 188 setting assists and 67 service aces.

Kylie, a business and accounting major, is the daughter of Dawn and Trent Siebert of Sugar Grove.